Jan 9, 2008

In the Company of Newfies

A Shared Life
by Rhoda Lerman

Rhoda Lerman is a breeder of Newfoundlands. But this book is not a technical description of the breed, or a training manual. Rather, it is a novel about one year in her life with nine adult dogs and a litter of new puppies. There is a lot of information on the history of the breed and what breeders go through to raise the dogs included as part of the narrative. Mostly, though, the book deals with the dogs' personalities, and their relationship with Lerman herself. These great, gentle dogs are really part of Lerman's family, as she makes quite clear. Her communication with them is so intuitive that she makes them appear nearly human. At times, her statements about the dogs' yearning to be human, and her her desires to be more like a dog can make the reader pause... But the overall story is so well-written, interesting and prosaic that I can overlook this. In the Company of Newfies was out of print for many years, having just come back in 2002. A great book for anyone interested in dogs or animal behavior, one to sit and cherish for the beauty of its words.

Rating: 4/5                    162 pages, 1996

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